Recently while doing research on English speaking in Thailand we found that in 2010 Thailand ranked 116th out of 163 countries on the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). In our shock we began wondering what was keeping Thai students from reaching their full potential? We were especially shocked to see that Thailand had ranked lower some of its neighbours who are less economically advanced. So we set about researching the way in which Thai schools teach their students how to speak English. What we found was that the Thai way of teaching was leaving English lost in translation. Rather than encouraging free conversation and personal discovery of the language, it encourages mimicking phrases put forth by a teacher at the head of the room while not learning how to use them.
Now as a students of foreign languages ourselves, we know how frightening and how daunting a real encounter with a real native speaker can be! The possibilty of making a huge mistake or saying the wrong thing or, even worse, forgetting everything may send shivers down your spine. However what you will learn as a result of the exchange may be worth hours in the classroom. No one knows a language as well as its native speakers so who better is there to really teach you the in's and out's of English than a real English-speaking person? Just think about it, the whole reason of you learning English is to be able to communicate effectively and understand the language, thus engaging in conversation will effectively increase your understanding of the language.
So we encourage you, the next time you are sitting on the BTS, put down that smartphone and talk to the nearest "farang". We can assure you that he or she will be more than willing to talk to you as tourists come to Thailand to learn more about it's culture and people. So please, try it some time! You could walk away with better understanding of English, or even a new friend! After all, what have you got to lose?
Economically advanced: Larger or more developed economy
Mimicking: To mimic - to copy
Send shivers down your spine: phrase - to make you scared
In's and out's: All of the workings or parts. How something works.
Thus: Therefore, or as a result
What have you got to lose?: What bad could come out of it? How could it go wrong? (Rhetorical question)
If you guys wouldn't mind helping us out, could you fill out this survey about learning English? Also, if you could fill out this survey about social media usage and trends, that would be great! Thank you very much :)